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Temuka Water Update 4 11/12/17 – 1730

TIMARU DISTRICT COUNCIL
MEDIA RELEASE

11/12/2017

For Immediate Use

Temuka Water Update 4 11/12/17 – 1730

Timaru District Council is continuing to work to clear Temuka water supplies, while working on short, medium and long term solutions to the issue.

They are also reiterating that the water in Temuka is safe to drink and use normally.

Ashley Harper, Group Manager Infrastructure, says that with a complex problem such as this, it’s important that they attack it from every angle.

“Our sampling throughout the town is confirming our initial thoughts of where the material is coming from, so we’re focusing on that. It also increases the number of options we have to put short term measures in place.

“This may include the temporary installation of a filtering plant, which would remove most materials from the water, but would cause a significant drop in water pressure.

“We’re bringing pipe composition experts in this week to review that we’re heading in the right direction and to ensure we’re not missing anything that could be done to help.

“We’re also sending away daily samples to a specialist lab in Wellington to corroborate this finding. Hopefully this will show that what we’re doing is working, but in the interim we continue to look at the medium and long term fixes for the issue.”

Dr Daniel Williams, South Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Community and Public Health reassured the public around the risk of breathing in asbestos fibres left behind once water content had evaporated.

“I understand that people in Temuka are concerned about breathing in asbestos fibres left behind after they’ve used tap water for washing clothes or watering gardens,” he said.

“While we are still waiting for test results measuring just how much asbestos is in the water in Temuka, international studies have not shown any link between asbestos levels in tap water and asbestos-related lung disease.

Both the World Health Organisation and our Ministry of Health advise that the presence of asbestos in water doesn’t make it unsafe to drink or to use for washing and showering.

There’s no reason not to carry on using the water however if people prefer to use an alternative supply, the Council is providing one.”

Dr Williams highlighted that while it is always better to reduce your exposure to asbestos, we are all exposed to asbestos in many ways, including in building materials, brake linings and at home.

“Asbestos in water does increase the amount of asbestos in the environment, but that’s still likely to be at very low levels compared to the workplace exposures that most often cause disease,” he said.

“Almost all asbestos-related disease in New Zealand has been linked to constant heavy exposure to asbestos dust at work or during intensive DIY home renovation.”

A supply of water will continue to be made available to those who wish to use it. It is at the Temuka Library and Service Centre car park.


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